Saturday, July 22, 2006

Comic-Con: Day 3

Another busy day at the Con. Mostly, I stuck to TV presentations after doing some shopping on “the floor,” so I missed the SPIDER-MAN 3 panel. I’m not happy about that since I know most of the stars showed up and they had some great clips (go to www.aintitcoolnews.com ). Also, I look forward to seeing Kevin Smith every single year, but he was held up by traffic and couldn’t “perform” until 6:30 this time out. I was already on my way home, so that was a bust. Wah.

But I had fun nonetheless. I told you I’d be going to the LOST panel, and I did. As you can guess, it was a pretty tight-lipped affair as far as spoilers go, but there were a few interesting tidbits from Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and Bryan Burk. Hurley and Jin were also there, and I have to tell you that Jin is all kinds of hot in person. Some quick notes about the discussion:

· Coming soon, there’ll be “LOST Diaries” available for downloading from Verizon. These will be two-minute original supplements.
· For those of you who are worried that the LOST writers are making it up as they go along: Lindelof said that they “never ask a question on the show without knowing the answer.” They kept promising that this won’t be another X-FILES fiasco. Actually, they’ve already planned the final episode.
· The writers really do listen to fan feedback; we’re a barometer for pacing.
· This next season’s episodes are being designed in more of a miniseries format to accommodate the new “pod” scheduling. What this means is that ABC decided to give us a “pod” or a bulk of episodes all at once, then take a break, then come back with another bunch. In short, we won’t get all those momentum-breaking repeats. The writers will be formatting the stories so that they arc by the time one break comes around; a new arc will begin with the next “pod” of episodes.
· Season 3 will be different than previous ones in tone and action. In fact, each season begins with a “new pilot,” the writers say. Where the first season was about establishing the main characters, the second season was darker with the addition of the “tailies.” The third season is supposed to be “more relationship-based,” meaning we’re going to see some big romance…. SPOILER: within the first six episodes, Kate will officially “make her selection” and “get with” someone.
· When we saw Liby in Hurley’s mental institution, this was a “VERY significant carrot that was dangled” in front of the viewers.
· The writers have planned four to five seasons of LOST, and they hope that ABC won’t make them drag it out for longer, though that could always happen if the series stays as successful as it’s been.

Some of the most interesting moments came when the writers refuted some of the theories going around. Here are some definite “no”s:

· Rose and Bernard do not work for Dharma.
· The word “clones” will never be used on this series; hence, none of the characters were cloned before the plane crashed. (Um…okay.)
· The black-smoke monster is not a cloud of nanobots (What the…?)

Seriously, you guys should’ve heard some of the questions being asked. Totally out there. The most surreal moment arrived when a woman came up to the Q&A microphone to start spouting off about the Hanso Foundation. At first, I thought she was just joking around, saying, “HAVE YOU NO SHAME???” The writers were taken aback. “I’ve got a little shame,” Cuse said sheepishly, looking as if he had no idea where this was going. Then she started yelling at them because the Hanso Foundation is real and LOST is covertly supporting it by featuring it in its plotlines. “YOU’VE GOT BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!!!” she bellowed. “I’M RACHEL BLAKE AND I EXIST!!!” Everyone was pretty confused. Was she a plant from the producers? Was she a fan who was just having a little too much fun? Or was Rachel Blake a complete nutter?
It was a tad uncomfortable.

After that head scratcher, I went to the panel for GRINDHOUSE, which is the new project from Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez. In case you haven’t heard, these guys, who’ve partnered up before during projects like FROM DUSK ‘TIL DAWN, loooove seventies flicks. It was natural, then, that they decided to do their own warped take on those gritty, cheap horror exploitation films from that era. The concept they came up with was to each create an hour-long scary movie, and they would be connected by fake movie trailers that paid homage to the genre. As it happens, both directors wrote scripts for full-length feature films, and it’ll be a literal double feature linked by these faux-trailers. Robert Rodriguez has already started to film his flick—a zombie movie. He even showed a clip, and, my God, the audience lapped it up. It was disgusting, hilarious, and genius.
If you have any memories of the seventies at all, you might remember going to the drive in and seeing that trippy, fluorescent-colored “prevue” coming attraction announcement framed by funky music. Well, that’s how the clip started out, and it set the tone perfectly. Then a series of scratches filled the screen; we were transported back to the days of bad projecting and cruddy prints that a second-run filmhouse would show. Then…the clips. Like any Rodriguez film, it was filled with gore—but, hey, this is a zombie movie. And it’s a zombie flick like no other. The best part came when Rose McGowan is in a hospital bed screaming at her boyfriend that her leg has been cut off. With a determined look, he rushes over to a table, rips off a wooden leg, then attaches it to her stump. “There’s your leg,” he says (paraphrased), pulling her out into the hallway where they decimate some zombies while escaping outside. And then comes the crazy part: eventually, the boyfriend attaches a machine gun to her stump and, while he rides around on his motor cycle, she guns down zombies with her rat-a-tat leg. You will have to see this to believe it. The viewers were going NUTS. Quentin hasn’t started on his own movie yet, a slasher pic, but he just signed the serial killer last night. Kurt Russell! This film is going to be huge and odd and just as in-your-face as any other project these two have created. Can’t wait for April, 2007. As a bonus, Quentin T. is off his rocker, and with his every word, he sweeps you into his pure passion for storytelling and film. Rodriguez is a wonderful, well-balanced foil for his friend. It was a great panel, especially because Zoe Bell was on it (Eee! Zoe is a stunt woman, and I used her as a partial model for my NIGHT RISING heroine, Dawn Madison. I wanted to ask Zoe a question so badly, but I chickened out.).

Lastly, I went to the VERONICA MARS presentation, where just about everyone in the cast was present, including Dick Casablancas. Heh! That was awesome. Heck, all the actors, plus creator Rob Thomas, were so very cool. Now, I’ve said a thousand times that this is a show I wish everyone were watching and, luckily, you’ll have a great chance to enter easily into the MARS world come fall, because the show will be designed to attract newcomers. Like LOST, it’s going to use the “pod” scheduling method, which will allow Veronica to solve a few mysteries instead of one long, ongoing one; this way, viewers will have several “entry points” into the story, and it won’t take them long to catch up with what’s been going on. In fact, since VM has moved to the new CW Network, the big wigs are expecting this program to be a nice companion piece to THE GILMORE GIRLS. Many audience members were afraid that this would cut into VM’s edgy storylines, but Rob Thomas seems to be slightly unconcerned. Also like LOST, everyone was tight-lipped about next season’s spoilers. However, the cast got along so well with each other on stage that it was pure joy to be around them. I dearly adore this show, and I hope it attracts an army of new viewers.

Tomorrow at the Con is shopping day, devoted exclusively to “the floor.” So…. Another year gone. I can’t believe it. But I’m already excited for the next go around….

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